Trying to knock a few goals with one stone

Aizaz Khaja / May 16, 2020
3 min read

Trying to knock a few goals with one stone

TL;DR It's hard, but organize yourself and then take consistent action.

I often tend to find myself in a position of having multiple projects on my plate at one time.

Quite often, it'll be something involving my work on Halalscope, learning new tech, learning current tech better and another side project. Depending on the times, it might also mean doing additional interview prep work and taking time for job hunting.

With COVID-19 still going strong, and my recent move to the US (from Canada), I find myself being in one of those times described above.

Yes, I'm still actively building Halalscope's new platform and building the business in the mean time, but I want to continue growing as a professional developer and be part of a larger team working towards larger outcomes, facing different challenges.

Halalscope isn't going anywhere, and it can be run on the side with my co-founder (it'd be a different story if we were seeking outside investment, but we're not. That's probably another story in itself).

With this, I have to be smart with my time and energy in making meaningful progress while still pushing forward on my goals.

Recently, I found myself in a position of needing to learn/implement Next.js and pick up TailwindCSS.

Instead of doing another dummy project for the graveyard that is my GitHub profile, I figured I'll go ahead and re-do my portfolio site. Something that has purpose, and is deliberate.

It took like 20 hours to get it all done, but I now have this site done using Next.js and TailwindCSS. Granted, it's essentially a static site, but my goals were simple and clear:

  • Deliver a clean, new personal website with a blog that uses Markdown and can showcase projects I'm building, built or maintaining.
  • Build it in Next.js and TailwindCSS for styling.
  • Get better at flexbox, but with TailwindCSS.

As a result, I now have a clean website and I've picked up new skills I can use on my intended project.

Is it perfect? No. I still have to style for mobile responsive (it uses flexbox appropriately in places, just needs some polish work).

Do I know Next.js and TailwindCSS inside out? No. But I'm covered for the 80% use case with 20% of the effort than if I were to go all in with a more complex project.

Bonus things I picked up along the way:

  • How MDX.js works with Next.js
  • How to make MDX work better for you with front matter like in Jekyll generated sites. (See package: next-mdx-enhanced).

What's important is that you ship and iterate. Consistently.